A rapper and producer from the Charleston area is featured on Snoop Dogg’s latest NFT music drop, a mix called “Death Row Sessions: Vol. 2” that was released on April 20.
Dave Curry — the producer behind collaborative compilation “Amethyst” that presented songs by more than 40 South Carolina rappers and was released on Juneteenth 2020 — made 1 percent of NFT sales from the project. (NFTs are non-fungible tokens, or unique assets stored on a digital ledger that cannot be replicated but can be sold or traded.)
That equates to 1 ETH, a type of digital currency or cryptocurrency. While the monetary value of cryptocurrency fluctuates, right now that means about $3,000.
The 40-minute mix that is a follow-up to Volume 1 includes music by Snoop Dogg, Curry and three other notable music creators in the crypto world — Heno, Iman Europe and MoRuf. Curry’s song “Justice” plays around the 9-minute mark.
A total of 1,000 NFTs sold for 100 ETH.
Curry, who goes by “Black Dave,” said he first connected with the founder of the website that the mix was released on, Sound (sound.xyz), and then the head of artist relations for the platform shared his music with Snoop Dogg’s team.
Just like that, he was selected for the project.
“Wanted to show off some of the dope artists in the Web3 world and make sure their voice gets heard on my platform,” tweeted Snoop Dogg after announcing the mix drop. “These cats pave the way 4 people like myself in this new wave.”
Representatives from Sound also acknowledged what a game-changer it’s been to have a name like Snoop Dogg on their platform.
“His first drop on Sound sold 1,000 editions in under 5 minutes and introduced hundreds of new collectors to the Sound community and helped build awareness for other Sound artists,” the brand tweeted. “He’s also championing Web3 artists that have pushed the space forward. … Artists supporting artists.”
Though he didn’t get to talk to Snoop Dogg directly, Curry said he did message the star on Twitter about his mighty presence in the NFT world, which has been a personal inspiration. In February, Snoop Dogg sold $44 million worth of NFTs in just five days.
Curry himself has made quite a name in the NFT music space, though, following in the visual art footsteps of another local, Beeple, who racked up $69 million for one NFT in March of last year. Mike Winkelmann, who goes by Beeple, lives in the Hanahan area.
While presenting music locally reaches a limited audience, online, Curry can connect with millions of people in an instant. That comes with it’s own requirements, like keeping up with fans through social media platforms.
“For this you have to go on the internet all the time,” said Curry. “It’s a lot, but it’s good. I think very few people recognized or cared about what I was doing locally, so I had to switch it up. This is a much better artist’s life.”
Curry has accumulated about $20,000 this year so far from NFT music sales, and just dropped an NFT album with another local rapper, Matt Monday, who is behind the annual Cultura Festival, which features performances by all Black local artists in The Royal American parking lot.
Beyond that, Curry has helped donate about $14,000 to Meeting Street Schools, whose minority student enrollment is 97 percent, as part of a locally based NFT foundation called The Kindred Hearts Project.
A fellow Charleston crypto innovator who goes by Johnny Utah started it with the intention of donating to organizations in need while also building a business. He bought into bitcoin at the right time and has been caught in the “crypto rabbit hole,” as he puts it.
“I spent some time learning about why it makes sense, how people can build communities around NFTs and also at the time I was thinking about launching a crypto token really to focus on giving back,” said Utah. “The main reason was because during COVID, well, it was pretty good to my family. We ate well, bought our kids computers, were healthy and overall life was pretty good. From that experience, I wanted to find ways to make a greater impact.”
The Kindred Hearts Project’s initial launch featured more than 50 artists, including Curry, who created pieces that include stamps that students at Meeting Street Schools made.
“We are a school who likes to innovate, likes to show our students there are limitless possibilities, likes to be forward-thinking and provide exposure to technology and encourage an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Meeting Street Schools Director of Communications Jennifer Jordan. “Johnny’s project was in line with those things, so we thought the partnership would be mutually beneficial.”
So far, the NFTs have raised around $30,000 for Meeting Street Schools and a few other groups, like the Gbowee Peace Foundation.
Utah plans on guest speaking with students to explain more about the NFT world down the line. He’s glad he snagged Curry for the project, and Curry said he’s happy to give back where he can.
“Dave’s gotten to be a pretty big deal,” said Utah. “I’m not sure if I could get to Dave now if I hadn’t connected with him a year ago.”
After this Snoop Dogg collaboration, Curry said he’s not sure exactly what’s next, but he’s got plenty of ideas. Ideas, after all, are what fuel the NFT world.